Surprisingly, this is a question I don’t actually get asked that often, but I read it all over a person’s face as they hear what I do and struggle to mentally place me in a box. At first it might sound abstract, like many people’s jobs when they introduce themselves giving only a title or well thought out marketing quip that doesn’t do anything but beg the question, “what exactly does that mean?” With further conversation about my concentration, I start to see agreement from the other party that “yes” they understand and individuals who know they need me have even responded with a hug!
First, let’s start with what coaching is not. You may have guessed that coaching isn’t a regulated word. Anybody can wake up one day and begin calling themselves a Coach. Some who use this word are really wearing the hat of Consultant or possibly Trainer, where they have an approach of “I know what needs to be done and I’ll tell you how to do it”. These can be valuable people to have as resources, as we’ve all needed a teacher from time to time, but many times, you know what needs to be done and are unsure why you’re not doing it! A wonderful question to ask someone you’re considering hiring as a coach is, “Will you tell me what to do, or support me in determining my own path?” There are seasons when people need the former and other when they need the latter.
The people who support a client in determining their own path, that’s the camp to which I belong, along with other members of the International Coach Federation. The ICF is an organization that exists to establish core competencies and a defined standard of ethics associated with a practice in coaching. They also accredit schools that teach the art and structure of coaching, as well as individuals who demonstrate the ability to execute successful coaching conversations.
Now let’s dive into the second piece, a Business Life concentration. Most people I’ve met identify themselves as either a life coach or a business coach. However, what about that space between the two? As a small business owner for most of my adult life, I’ve come to understand that the work someone chooses or the business created is as an extension of the person. And, the habits and thought patterns we have in our personal life get carried into our business, both good and bad. With this overlap, Business Life Coaching allows you to bring your challenges to the table, regardless of where they reside. We begin where attention is needed and can address both sides of the coin as it pertains to the client’s situation. It’s not uncommon for shifts to be seen in a variety of areas, personally and professionally, as well as internally and externally.
My coaching structure is working one on one, “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”, as defined by the ICF. I enjoy being at the service of an individual and specifically find myself working with people who belong in one of the following scenarios:
· Those in transition – Often, when someone is looking to make a change, they know what they don’t want, but determining what they do want can be more difficult to pinpoint. A coach can help someone look at their internal wiring, identify their unique purpose and develop a vision they want to reach. I’ve seen many clients’ confidence increase when they get a very clear picture of themselves and understand how they might prefer to express that in their next steps. It’s about being authentic and finding alignment so decisions become easy from opportunities that arise.
· Small Business Owners - Whether you’ve had your business for 1 day or 20+ years, having an unbiased sounding board, aside from employees or a spouse can be invaluable. The support in for an entrepreneur can look like developing a focused strategy with thoughtful accountability, devising systems and steps for implementation or identifying beliefs & emotions that might be preventing forward progress. Clients are able to lessen stress, increase efficiency and prepare for growth opportunities.
· Leaders – As a leader of a group of people or an organization, there is a lot resting on your shoulders. There’s a responsibility to bring your best and being human, it’s necessary to keep your cup filled and head clear to navigate all the demands of the role. Coaching provides neutral territory to balance self-care, while navigating the demands of the relationships and strategies to support overall organizational goals.
I feel truly blessed to get to do this for a living. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of working a full day with clients knowing I’ve helped bring clarity and focus to their personal and professional lives!
If you can identify with any of these struggles or something internally says you could benefit from working with a coach, please, let’s connect!